Get Rid of Expired Prescription Drugs Safely April 28

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Have you cleaned out your medicine cabinet lately? While hunting for some pain reliever recently, I was shocked to discover the amount of expired medicine I had stored away. Frankly, I’d never thrown anything away because I wasn’t sure where to dispose of the medicine safely.

This Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is coordinating a National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, a way for unwanted, unused prescription medicine, including controlled substances, to be disposed of safely across the nation.

You’ve probably heard of the dangers of improperly getting rid of your old prescription drugs. The Environmental Protection Agency advises not to flush them down the drain (unless directed) because wastewater treatment plants can’t remove drugs from sewer system water and they end up in our rivers and streams. You also want to ensure your old medicine doesn’t wind up in the wrong hands. If you have teens in your home, consider these sobering facts from the DEA:

  • Every day, on average, 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time.
  • Sixty-three percent of teens believe that prescription drugs are easy to get from friends’ and family’s medicine cabinet.
  • Sixty percent of teens who abused prescription pain relievers did so before the age of 15.
  • Two in five teens believe that prescription drugs are “much safer” than illegal drugs.
  • three in 10 teens believe that prescription pain relievers are not addictive.

Interested in disposing of your expired meds? Go online to the DEA National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day collection site locator to search for the closest location to dispose of unneeded drugs this Saturday. If you don’t see a site near your home, keep checking back; the DEA will be adding locations through April 28 across the country.

The take-back service is free and anonymous, with no questions asked. Sites will accept tablets, capsules, and all other solid dosage forms of unwanted medication. You can black out personal information on prescription bottles, or empty medications from your bottles into the bins provided at the events.

This Saturday marks the fourth DEA National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. The first three Take Back Days resulted in the disposal of 498.5 tons of unwanted medication.

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